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  • Writer's pictureFather George

From Father George's Desk 6/9/24

This weekend we return to the counted Sundays of Ordinary Time; as we do, we rejoin this year’s Lectionary cycle where we left it before Lent.  Today begins a 25-week stretch of readings mostly from Gospel of St. Mark (with a late summer interlude of Jesus’ teaching on the Bread of Life from John’s Gospel), which will lead us through most of the public ministry of Jesus.  The very title “Ordinary Time” has always bothered me.  When I was in seminary, we used to jokingly call this “Boring Time”; when we think of something that is “ordinary”, in our minds we often contrast that with something that is “special” and we can erroneously conclude that going to Mass at this time of year is less important than during the weeks of the Advent/Christmas or Lent/Easter cycles.  However, all days are special when we are journeying in and with the Lord—be it the Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time or Christmas Day!  The Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar reminds us, “besides the times of year that have their own distinctive character, there remain in the yearly cycle thirty-three or thirty-four weeks in which no particular aspect of the mystery of Christ is celebrated, but rather the mystery of Christ itself is honored in its fullness…” [UNLY, 43]


 “As we are often reminded, the naming of this liturgical time is from the Latin ordo, which refers to both a counting or numbering and an order.  While ordinary may suggest something usual or customary, this liturgical time is significant for our continued growth in faith, both as individuals who continue to be transformed by our observances of the liturgical year and as a community that seeks to conform to the light, life, and love revealed to us by Jesus….Through the Scriptures, we learn more about the life of Jesus and the early Church; through our observance of various feasts and solemnites, we learn more about the saints, our Catholic tradition, and the Church community over time.” [2015 Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons, and Weekdays, LTP, p. 224]  So let us make the most of the liturgical time which now unfolds before us, to journey with the Lord in his earthly ministry through pages of the Gospel and to open ourselves ever more fully to the grace of his presence in the sacraments of the Church.  No day is boring or ordinary when we walk in the light and grace of Jesus Christ!


 As we begin to ease our way into the summer season many of us are looking forward to vacations and other get-aways over the next few months.  Vacation time is important for our physical and mental well-being; time away from the job and our normal routines helps us to renew and refresh ourselves.  As you prepare for your summer adventures or weekends of relaxation, don’t forget your spiritual well-being, either.  Just about anywhere you go on planet Earth there’ll be a Catholic church somewhere nearby.  A quick search of your destination on google, GPS, or map app could lead you to an informative and/or transformative experience when you visit a parish in another state or region.  It’s just one more way to make the most of “ordinary” time.

 

And finally, a little Catholic trivia for you this week...on Thursday the Church honors one of its best-known and most beloved saints, St. Anthony of Padua.  Anthony was born in Portugal in 1195 and lived a very quiet and austere life as an Augustinian friar until being attracted by the Franciscan missionaries in Morocco. He was permitted to join the order but fell ill before making his missionary trip.  He moved, instead, to a hermitage in Montepaolo, Italy.  Legend has it that even the fish liked to listen to Anthony’s sermons! His preaching eloquence was discovered by accident one day when he hesitantly volunteered to speak at an ordination.  He began preaching throughout Italy and Southern France, becoming one of the most renowned saints in Europe, following his death in Padua, Italy in 1231. (2008 Sourcebook, LTP, p. 261)  Why is St. Anthony often depicted holding the child Jesus in his arms?  Tradition tells us that Anthony was a guest in someone’s home and was seen through an open window, deep in meditation and communion. He was holding Christ so single-mindedly in his heart that the Christ child was seen in his arms.


“Tony, Tony, turn around. Something’s lost and must be found.” Why pray to St. Anthony when something is lost?  Another story tells us of a novice who grew tired of religious life and pilfered Anthony’s Book of Psalms (books were quite rare in those days) as he was packing his things to go AWOL.  Anthony prayed that it would be returned to him and, lo and behold, the novice had a change of heart; he returned the book and came back to the order.

 

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